Despite the fact that the homicides in Seattle grew like foam, the City Council decided to reduce the police budget by 18%. The city, which broke a record in violent crime figures, will now have a police force with less funds for training and overtime.
A New York Post (NYP) article revealed that city council members voted overwhelmingly to eliminate dozens of vacant positions within the Seattle Police Department. The budget also mandates the city to invest up to $100 million for projects in communities of color and hiring 100 police officers next year.
Deputy Mayor Mike Fong has told council members that a cut in the police budget would mean immediate layoffs and leave the department unable to perform basic functions.
But Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan celebrated the decision despite the fact that 134 officers have already left the city’s police force and only last month 23 officers left their posts in the department.
Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda, who heads the city council’s budget, said she took into account the leftist Black Lives Matter movement in creating the budget changes.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild, a union that supports the city’s police department, warned that under the cuts, citizens could see delays in police response to emergencies.
But it is not just Seattle
Like other major cities, Seattle, led by the Democratic mayor, is experiencing a sharp increase in violent crime. According to the New York Post, the city recorded 28 homicide victims last year and 32 in 2018, according to police figures.
“Robberies are also on the rise. This year, the police department has reported 8,418 robbery incidents, compared to 7,634 in 2019,” the media says.
Calls to cut police funding intensified in June after the murder of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. After that, Carmen Best, who was head of the Seattle Police Department, resigned after disagreements with city leaders over possible cuts in police budgets and proposals to fire about 100 officers.
“I believe 100% that they were putting me in a position that was bound to fail. Cutting a police department that already had a low number of personnel, that was already struggling to keep up with demand, how are we going to provide adequate public safety in that environment?,” she added.
Already in August, the Seattle City Council had approved the cut of millions of dollars in Police Department funding.
“There is simply no way that security will not be compromised if we fire 50 percent of our officers,” Best said at the time.
Social organizations in the U.S. have come to advocate not only for reducing the budget of the Police Department but also for abolishing the agency.
There are approximately 18,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States. Many citizens are concerned that such measures could cause an increase in crime, endanger lives and reduce property values.
“Bad idea” to reduce the budget of the Police
“I think it’s a very bad idea,” John Malcolm, the vice president of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, told the Voice of America.
“The police are our gatekeepers . There are gang members, drug dealers and disturbed people out there and if there are no police officers to respond (…) I think there’s going to be a lot of problems,” he said.
Also, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has called the budget reduction a “wrong and short-sighted approach.
“In a profession that is no longer adequately funded, resources should not be taken away from the police, but rather, additional resources should be contributed to these areas,” said the IACP.
President Donald Trump has also spoken out against the idea: “LAW AND ORDER, NOT TO REMOVE THE FUNDS AND ABOLISH THE POLICE,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “The radical leftist Democrats have gone crazy,” he said.